PSA: Keep An Eye Out For Those Fat ArcheAge Settlement Checks

Try not to buy more than six Cadillacs.

Continue reading “PSA: Keep An Eye Out For Those Fat ArcheAge Settlement Checks”

IPE Update: Trion Worlds Lawsuit Coming To A Close As Parties Agree On Settlement

(Update 8/10/19: Included some background information on the case for those who might not be as familiar)

It’s finally over, folks. After nearly four years in court, the Trion Worlds lawsuit may finally be reaching its final days.

Earlier this month in the superior court of San Mateo, California, dockets have been submitted to the court offering notice that the parties involved in the lawsuit have agreed in principle to settle the case. According to court filings, the terms of the settlement have not yet been documented, but will be coming in the near future.

It is also worth noting that payment for the settlement will come from Navigators Insurance Company, the insurer for Trion Worlds, and Trion Worlds will be dismissed from liability for the claims.

Plaintiffs and Navigators Insurance Company, the insurer for the officers and directors of Defendant Trion Worlds, Inc., have reached an agreement in principle to settle this case on class wide basis. The proposed settlement will provide for notice to the class members of the proposed settlement, payments to members of the proposed settlement class who file claims, and will release Defendant Trion Worlds, Inc. from liability for the claims asserted in this action. The parties are working to document all of the terms of the settlement.

At some point there will be notification for members of the class who will be eligible for compensation.

Four years ago, Aaron Van Fleet and Paul Ovberg along with other plaintiffs filed suit against Trion Worlds regarding their publishing of the game ArcheAge. The lawsuit alleged false advertising regarding pre-release advertising offering a 10% discount on cash shop purchases for subscribers. That 10% discount was later retroactively scrubbed from press releases and ultimately was scrapped entirely, with Trion Worlds replacing the deal with a 10% bonus on all gem purchases that did not extend to a number of customers that would otherwise be covered by the discount on shop purchases. The lawsuit also claimed that Trion’s loot box system violated California penal code against illegal lottery.

Since then, Trion Worlds has virtually gone bust with the company transferring its assets to another Trion Worlds and then selling off those assets to Gamigo. Their defense of this lawsuit has been primarily funded from liability insurance.

As always, dockets cited will be available in the MMO Fallout Google Drive. This file is labeled “settlement.pdf”. MMO Fallout will keep a closer eye on the lawsuit and update as new information becomes available.

IPE Update: Settlement Negotiations and Sanctions Ahoy!

On the last episode of In Plain English: Trion Worlds was issued a subpoena to produce information regarding the sale of assets to Gamigo, we learned about Golden Gate Games Inc, another entity that may possess some of Trion’s assets and whom the plaintiff intended on serving with deposition paperwork and possibly add as a defendant. The next conference was set for March 15.

Well you can throw that out the window, because it looks like we’ve taken a sharp (and predictable) left hand turn into settlement territory. The March 15 discovery conference and case management conference were both vacated with a 60-day delay to discovery, and a delay in the motion for class certification. Why the sudden cancellations and delays? The parties are seeking settlement negotiations.

“Counsel indicated that they have no pending discovery disputes, and that they jointly stipulate to 60 day stay of discovery, and delay in bringing the motion for class certification, in order to facilitate settlement negotiation.”

This isn’t too surprising, considering 97% of civil cases are settled before they even go to trial. It looks like Aaron Van Fleet’s crew are discussing negotiations with Trion’s insurer because the company’s insurance policy is literally the best remaining asset.

“On March 7, 2019, Plaintiffs’ counsel had preliminary discussion With counsel for Trion’s Directors and Officers Liability insurer. Trion’s Directors and Officers Liability insurance policy appears to be Trion’s most significant remaining asset. The policy is depleted by defense costs. The parties have agreed to explore potential resolution of the matter. Plaintiffs
request sixty-day stay of discovery between the parties (Plaintiffs and Trion Worlds, Inc.), so that the parties may explore potential resolution Without fithher depleting the limited resource potentially available to satisfy the claims of Plaintiffs and the proposed class. Trion agrees that sixty-day stay of discovery is appropriate.”

On the lawsuit side, the plaintiff’s lawyers have still been attempting to serve subpoenas to Golden Gate Games and Gamigo, evidently having no luck in either field.

“Plaintiffs have been unable to serve With subpoenas either Golden Gate Games, Inc. or Gamigo. They have not completed their investigation of whether to add either entity to the case, but do not anticipate doing so at this point. As discussed below, the parties have had preliminary discussion regarding potential resolution of the case. If those efforts are unsuccessful, Plaintiffs will make final determination about adding additional parties in advance of the next Case Management Conference.”

In other news, the plaintiffs are not happy at all with how Trion Worlds has been handing over requested documents, by which I mean how they have been refusing to hand over documents. Trion has allegedly been passing the buck on providing documents related to the illegal lottery, instead pointing to either Gamigo or the Trion shell that the assets were initially transferred over to. Due to Trion’s lack of cooperation, the plaintiffs are giving serious consideration to filing a motion for sanctions for failure to preserve documents despite having filed those requests nearly three years ago. If the sanctions are approved, it would be bad news for Trion and their legal team.

In fact, it seems like Trion Worlds is just in general refusing to cooperate. Trion’s council believes that the documents that the plaintiff have requested may be in the possession of Trion ABC or Gamigo. As for how to get in contact with Gamigo, Trion has so far not provided any information. Virtually every piece of documentation that Trion Worlds objected to was under claims that it was overly broad, vague, and oppressive, or violated attorney-client privilege.

As always, if you want to check out the dockets you can do so at the MMO Fallout Google Drive. If you’re hoping that this lawsuit doesn’t end up in a settlement, I would probably curb your expectations now. Especially with the insurance company taking over negotiations.

Bethesda Wins Lawsuit, Interplay Fallout MMO Terminated

War. War never changes. And neither does litigation. Bethesda’s parent company Zenimax Studios announced today the results of the recent settlement between Bethesda and Interplay, over the rights of the Fallout MMO. In the settlement, Zenimax has come out on top, retaining all rights to the Fallout name and ensuring anything Interplay was working on is now worth zilch.

Under the terms of the settlement, the license granted to Interplay to develop the Fallout MMO is null and void, and all rights granted to Interplay to develop a Fallout MMO revert back to Bethesda, effective immediately. Interplay has no ongoing right to use the Fallout brand or any Fallout intellectual property for any game development. ZeniMax will pay Interplay $2 million as consideration in the settlement, each party will bear its own costs of the litigation, and Bethesda will continue to own all Fallout intellectual property rights.

In addition, Interplay will also lose the rights to publish Fallout 1 and 2 in 2013. You may remember that Interplay had sublicensed the Fallout brand to Masthead Studios (the Earthrise developers). In a separate filing, Bethesda sued Masthead (and settled on December 29th) for copyright infringement and assorted intellectual property violations, as it turns out Interplay was not allowed to sublicense without the approval of Bethesda, which they never received. In that case, no money has changed hands.

Is it early enough to declare Project V13 dead?

Bethesda/Interplay Lawsuit Settled, Nothing Specific Released

It’s funny how some banners look better in your mind before you put them on paper. Good news everyone! According to Duck and Cover, a premiere Fallout fan site, a settlement has been reached between Bethesda and Interplay over the ongoing lawsuit pertaining to Fallout Online (or Project V13).  For those in need of a jump to the brain, back in 2007 Interplay sold the Fallout franchise to Bethesda under the agreement that Interplay would develop the Fallout MMO, with the understanding that such a title would be in full development by April 2009. When that date came and went, allegedly with no real progress, Bethesda launched a lawsuit against Interplay for failing to meet their side of the bargain.

This recess was extended, and then they recessed for lunch. After the lunch recess, the court room was locked to everyone except attorneys and clients. When our source asked why this was the case, our source was told it was because they were working out a settlement. The following day, another source called the court reporter to ask what the next hearing schedule for the case was — this source was told there was no schedule as a settlement had been reached.

More information, according to Duck and Cover, is set to be released this month. Until then, let the speculation continue on the future of the vaporware MMO known as Project V13.

(Source: Duck and Cover)

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